Thursday, June 11, 2015

Octavia Gives the Eyasses an Unbelievable Flying Lesson

The 927 Fifth Avenue nest from Fifth Avenue
 Here's a crop of the above photo for a slightly better view of what the eyasses are doing.  It is getting warm but interestingly it is also windy.  Large appears to be doing a half hearted, one wing flap.  Medium is scrunched center and Little has his head crammed up under the cornice to get it out of the sun.  Little hates being hot.

I've done the walk up the hill to Fifth Avenue from the Hawk Bench in hope of getting a nice clear photo of Pale Male sitting on the Linda building.  Pale was sitting on Linda when I arrived at the Hawk Bench so instead of setting up right away,  I started up the path to Fifth.   But sometime during the part of the walk where Pale Male was obscured by trees  he'd flown,  because when I got to Fifth and got to a break in the street trees he was nowhere in sight.  


This has been going on for several days now.  I see Pale sitting in one of Linda's windows  while down at the Bench on the other side of the Model Boat Pond.  I walk round the water, then trek the slope up to Fifth Avenue during which while the view is obscured, Pale Male decides to go somewhere else. 

I begin to fantasize that he finds this amusing.

Yes I know he's a Red-tailed Hawk but sometimes...

At any rate, I then turn around and go back down the hill and  back to the Bench which has the broadest view of the hawk's territory.

Okay, I'm telling you all this because it will become important later.  

Be patient.
 Well the eyasses aren't any longer crammed into the back wall...that's something.  That couldn't have been comfortable.

I look over at Linda....UNBELIEVABLE.  He's up there again.  No, he isn't.  It is Isolde who's sitting on Linda.
 Before I can consider walking up the hill for her  picture...she's off heading south. 
She zips past the Lions building.

Everybody watches.
 Interesting.  Octavia taking flight seems to have spurred Large into flapping again.

One leg is off the ground.
This is by far the longest bout of flapping I've seen yet this season!
Octavia is all over the sky.  She kites for a long time just north of 927.  Then she does a fly over of  nest, looking down, checking for effect? She isn't even flapping she is gliding nearly everywhere. Well, she is certainly having an effect on Large.

Then it hits me.  Octavia is giving flying lessons!

"See?", she's saying, "You can do this too.  Give it a try!"

She glides past Woody.
Then flaps past the nest.  Three pairs of eyass eyes are glued to her.  Is there food?  But that isn't what Octavia has in mind...
 Past the nest and on toward Fisher...

Then she swoops down to the treeline.  The hawks do not do this kind of obvious flying ordinarily. Trust me.  A little here, a little there while hunting but stealth is the usual name of the game.  While I was setting up Octavia had done a horde of sky dancing before I ever got a clue or chance to photograph her.
Octavia does a fly by of a pigeon. 
She climbs and swoops and  rides the wind.
 She rides up Woody.
 Then puts on the brakes.
Down goes the landing gear.
Gadging the distance.
She sits there...and sits there...and sits there some more.  Hmmm.  Is she done with the show? And I wait some more.
See Octavia at the tip top left corner of Woody.  Well here comes Pale Male from the north.  Drat! 
Octavia isn't moving a muscle and Pale Male (see him crossing the window on the left of Woody) is going somewhere.  Come to think of it.  What has Pale Male been doing all this time I've been watching Octavia?  Not enough eyes.
  Pale Male has flown over and landed on Linda.  Octavia shows  no sign of going anywhere.  This could be the moment to head up the hill and get that nice beauty shot of Pale Male sitting on Linda that I've been wanting.  He isn't going to elude me this time!  I grab my backpack, my tripod....the camera and start walking fast round the Model Boat Pond... 
Wait!  Octavia is flying toward Linda!

I'm still down by the Boat Pond when Octavia lands on the window railing right of Pale Male!  Oh this could be a great clear shot with both of them in it!  I'm heading up the path...

 On the right of the path as I go up, is a lawn with trees around the edges....I get to the edge of that lawn...and here comes Octavia zooming across the lawn a foot from the ground right toward me and the bushy tree adjacent to me .  When she gets to the tree, her body makes an abrupt right angle straight up a couple of feet in front of me and the tree.  Quite startling actually.  I get to the other side of the tree in a flash and look up.  

Where did she go?  

I scrutinize the tree from the side she was on.  I don't see her, not a bough is wriggling. I get some distance and look over the tree top to bottom. Where is she?  What happened?

I take a picture of the tree...there are any number of people who were sunbathing or chatting on the lawn when Octavia zipped past.  Not a one seems to have noticed her.  I head up the slope, the set of stairs,and make my way to Fifth Avenue for that picture of Pale Male that I want.

You guessed  it.  Pale Male isn't there anymore.  And I don't see Octavia anywhere either.  I head back DOWN the hill.
When I get back to the Hawk Bench and  set up my tripod and camera again, Large is definitely in an ecstasy of flapping.    The flight lesson worked for her.  Then just out of curiosity, perhaps being a glutton for punishment, I turn my camera to look up at the windows of  Linda for Pale Male.
4:50:02PM   No ladies and gents, it isn't Pale Male.  It is the missing Octavia looking quite pleased.  

She is a beauty!

I decide it is time for me to go home.  I stow my tripod and other gear but before I pack my camera I take one more picture of the bird on Linda.  
 Now this picture was handheld so I can't really tell for sure who the bird is because it won't bear being cropped....but it looks awfully pale to me.  How about you?

Happy Hawking--Donegal Browne

Wait!  It turns out that there is an addendum.  Remember the picture of the tree that Octavia seemed to disappear over...

I've just been going over it very carefully, and look what I found...

I do believe that is the beautiful and bountifully clever Octavia looking at me while I take the picture.   I've begun to giggle.

How could anyone not love these hawks?  They are so lovably clever and therefore endlessly fascinating.   One does have to have a sense of humor though.

...Happy Hawking

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